Former guest family honors daughter’s memory by hosting $3,000 fundraiser for RMHCA
Each year, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama helps hundreds of families stay together when they need it most. One of those families, the Chapmans, shared their story of hope, struggle, and how they decided to give back.
Bryon and Hannah Chapman of Remlap, Alabama are both teachers and coaches at Southeastern School. On August 28, 2018 they welcomed their first child, a beautiful baby girl named Cora.
After a few days in the NICU at at Grandview Medical Center, baby Cora was transferred to Children’s of Alabama. There, she was diagnosed with Zellweger Syndrome, a rare and fatal condition. For the 28 days Cora stayed in the hospital, parents Bryon and Hannah stayed just a short walk away from her in the Ronald McDonald House.
The couple shared, “While she was in the NICU at [Children’s of Alabama], we stayed at RMHC for the few hours that we stepped away from her bedside each day. We would shower and sleep, and then walk back over to the hospital to be with her. As it turned out, the hours of travel that we saved and in turn got to spend with her proved to be priceless in her short life.”
Unfortunately, Cora passed away on December 17, 2018. In the aftermath of this heartbreaking event, Bryon and Hannah relied heavily on the support of their friends, family, school community, and surrounding communities. They also decided to use their platform as teachers and coaches to make a difference for other families like them.
Hannah shared, “Our softball platform is something that we have always loved because we love the sport and our girls that we get to coach every day. However, it means more than ever to us now. Sometimes God plants you in a place that can be challenging or confusing, but if you just hold on you will realize that you are right where you need to be. That is Southeastern for us.”
Bryon said, “We have been forever changed by Cora and the people we met along the way. From day one, we said that no matter what we wanted to let God’s light shine through all of this. We feel that we can use our platform to spread the word about RMHC. Unless a person has received support from RMHC they truly do not know great it is!”
He continued, “We could donate all the money in the world and still never be able to repay what RMHC did for us by keeping us close.”
The Cora Blake Chapman Invitational, a softball tournament, was held April 12-13, 2019 and included two days of competition between four central Alabama high schools. All admission and concessions proceeds were donated to RMHCA.
The Chapmans shared, “The number of spectators and the number of additional donations given to the cause were so humbling. The thought that our precious daughter has such a lasting impact on those around us literally brings us to our knees. We are so blessed to have been chosen as her parents and for the massive support we continue to be shown by those that love us.”
The event raised $3,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama, which the Chapmans and the Southeastern School softball team delivered in person.
When asked why they chose to give back to RMHCA, the Chapmans responded, “RMHC is a blessing to so many families like ours. We all have different stories and different outcomes, but in the throes of a pediatric illness the need is much the same. RMHC will always have a special place in our hearts, and we hope to grow our tournament each year in order to donate more and more toward the mission of keeping families close. Having a child with a severe illness is something we wouldn’t wish on any parents, but unfortunately we are not the only family who has or will face this difficult situation. The work of RMHC is a priceless gift that is given to parents who simply desire to be there for their child.”
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